All surgeries come with risks. Every patient has the right to be aware of these risks and potential complications before agreeing to a procedure (the right of informed consent). One such risk is that the surgery will not work. Although not all failed surgeries are grounds for medical malpractice claims, those that stem from a surgeon or medical center’s negligence are. In these cases, the injured patient may have the right to file a civil lawsuit in Kansas City. You or your medical malpractice lawyer must prove that the surgeon in question owed you a duty of care, breached this duty and caused the surgery to fail.
Assumed Risks vs. Medical Malpractice
Modern hospitals and surgical centers have techniques and technologies that have drastically reduced the risks a patient takes when going under the knife. Every surgery, however, still comes with a certain degree of risk. Going under anesthesia and having a procedure done could lead to serious or fatal complications, such as hemorrhaging, nerve damage or brain damage. All surgical risks, however, should be reasonable under the circumstances.
It would not be reasonable to assume the risk of death, for example, for a simple biopsy. A dangerous procedure such as open-heart surgery, however, could come with a reasonable assumption of the risk of a fatal complication. It is part of a physician or surgeon’s professional duty to make the patient aware of all potential risks before conducting the operation. If a complication that arises during the surgery was not a reasonable risk, the injured patient may have a medical malpractice claim.
A failed surgery could be medical malpractice if a reasonable and prudent surgeon would have prevented the failure. If the surgeon is guilty of a breach of duty or misconduct that caused the failure to occur, that surgeon may have committed malpractice. The difference between assumed risk and malpractice is negligence. A patient will have to prove a surgeon’s negligence to succeed with a medical malpractice lawsuit in Missouri.
Common Surgical Errors That Lead to Malpractice Actions
A surgery could fail for many reasons, from issues with the patient’s medical history to a surgery that proved more difficult than the surgeon predicted. If the surgeon did everything he or she reasonably could have to make the operation succeed, he or she may not be guilty of medical malpractice even if it fails. If, however, the surgeon or another member of the surgical team engaged in negligence, misconduct or unethical actions and this is what caused the surgery to fail, the patient may have a claim.
- Wrong patient
- Wrong procedure
- Anesthesia mistakes
- Nicking a nerve or artery
- Damaging internal organs
- Leaving a surgical instrument inside the body
- Causing an infection
These are all common errors in medical malpractice lawsuits in Missouri. They are mistakes that an ordinary and prudent surgeon would not reasonably make. Lack of communication, poor sanitation, broken rules or recklessness during an operation could all cause preventable mistakes and failed surgeries. In these cases, a medical malpractice lawsuit may be possible.
Kansas City Medical Malpractice Laws
If you believe you have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim against a surgeon and/or surgical center in Kansas City for a failed surgery, learn the laws that may apply to your case, starting with the statute of limitations. In both Missouri and Kansas, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the malpractice or discovery of malpractice. In Kansas, however, a statute of repose states no claimant may file a suit more than four years after the negligent act.
Adhering to your statute of limitations is necessary if you wish to bring a claim for damages after a failed surgery. It is also important to understand the elements necessary to secure compensation for medical malpractice. This can be a difficult burden of proof that may require testimony from expert surgeons. Your lawyer must also prove that you suffered damages as a result of the surgeon’s malpractice, such as further medical bills or lost quality of life. Speak to an injury lawyer today to find out if you have a medical malpractice case.